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1I4                            THE GAY GENIUS

"But these are for the benefit oŁ the people and were never intended
to oppress them," replied the Emperor.

"I know that Wang Anshih has great ability," said the Empress
Dowager, "but he has made too many enemies. For his own good I
think you had better temporarily suspend him from office."

"I find," replied the Emperor, "that among all the courtiers onljcl
Wang Anshih is willing to shoulder all the responsibilities."

The Emperor's brother, Prince Chi, was standing by. He said: "I
believe you should think over what Grandmother has just said."

His Majesty flew into a rage. "All right, all right!" he cried. "I don't
know how to run the government. You take over."

"I didn't mean that," said Prince Chi.

For a moment there was an awkward silence. Then the Empress
Dowager said: "Wang Anshih has brought on all this trouble. What
are you going to do about it?"                                                         7

The next morning Wang Anshih was dismissed, although Huiching'
and Dunquan remained. The Emperor decided to suspend the excise
tax, the farmers' loans, the draft exemption tax, the paochia system,
and the registration of land, a total of eighteen measures in all.

It began to rain. Truly God was pleased!

But Wang Anshih's hour was not yet over. There was a technicality
by which the gatekeeper was impeached. When he first submitted the
scroll through the regular channels, the palace officials had refused to
accept it on the ground that, as a minor official, he had no qualifications
to communicate with the Emperor. Cheng, therefore, had gone to an
imperial courier station outside the capital and, telling the courier thjjtfi
it contained urgent military business, had asked him to dispatch it
'immediately on horseback. On this technicality of illegal use of the
courier system, Cheng Shia was tried at the censor's court.

History does not record the result of the trial. But we find that in
January of the following year Cheng Shia sent up another painting
album to the Emperor, entided The Story of Righteous and Corrupt
Ministers. It was the story of certain famous good ministers and evil
geniuses of the Tang dynasty, and while no direct reference was made
to the men of the present regime, the story of what these evil geniuses
did in a previous dynasty bore unmistakable resemblance to the acts o.t
the men in power. If there was any possible ambiguity, the legend im"
the paintings had provided against it. Along with the album, Cheng,
also submitted a memorial recommending a good man to be the prime
minister, since Wang Anshih had already been dismissed. Huiching
was now in power, and Dunquan had already switched his allegiance
from Wang Anshih to him. The two, therefore, succeeded in banishing
Ctteng Shia to remote Kwangtung.

Before his departure a certain censor came to visit him and said: "It is